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Taking back what’s yours By Nevin Odum

Chapter 1 I never thought of myself as a leader. But no one actually needed one up until now. My name is Randy Arthur, but they call me Sandals. I grew up in the small town of Outlook carving. I’ve always had a normal life. Nice friends, normal school, all that stuff. But lately things have been weird. It was summer break and a lot of trouble has been going on in my neighborhood. We’re always finding broken mailboxes in the morning, and teepee houses. Sometimes even egged! I think it’s because behind our houses there is a park with a big forest in the back. And on the other side of that forest is another neighborhood but not like mine. That neighborhood has really bad kids. Who do really bad things. And lately they have been coming over to our side and causing a lot of commotion. The police can’t prove it yet but I know what they do. Most of them are thirteen to fourteen. Two years older than me. One time my friend David and I were riding bikes in the park, and then some of them jumped out from behind the trees and bushes and pushed us down. They tried to steal the bike but we fought them off but it was hard. Most of them are big and strong. Anyway if your wondering why everyone calls me sandals well that’s because that’s the only thing I ever really put on my feet. Beach, mountains, forest, I’ll be wearing them. I’m not the only one of four guys who has a nickname in my gang. There’s people like longhorns, sweatpants, and gym shorts. Also known as David , Alan, and Michael. We’ve stuck together through thick and thin. No matter what happened one of us was there for each other. Which was definitely today. Sweat pants and I were playing wall ball on the side of my house when suddenly we saw Gym shorts running at the speed of light. He came over to us panting extremely hard. “Gym shorts what’s wrong buddy?” asked Sweat pants. Gym shorts was trying to catch his breath. “Long horns… those kids… are beating him up… down at the park.” “What?” I exclaimed scared and furious. “What happened?” Gym shorts was starting to be able to talk. “Well me and Longhorns were shooting hoops on the court, when suddenly four guys came up and said to give them money. Longhorns said he didn’t have any but they didn’t believe him and started beating him up. They tried to get me to but I ran to fast. Now we got to go before they cause some serious damage to him.” He was right, Long horns was kind of thinner than the rest of us and not exactly the strongest guy around. We all ran, hopped on our bikes and rode as quick as we could down to the park.

Chapter 2 When we arrived at the basket ball court things were looking bad. The boys were still beating up longhorns and he was getting close to being bruised. “I’m going to ask you one more time.” One of them exclaimed. “Give your money or your going to get it.” “I told you I don’t have any money.” He told them in a small voice. “That’s it.” Said the boy and raised his fist. Longhorns tried to block his face. “Hey.” I yelled. “leave him alone.” “Oh yeah. What are you going to do about it. Suddenly Sweat pants came up behind us yelling. “Get out of the way!” We looked behind and jumped. I hadn’t even noticed that he was still on his bike. He was peddling towards them a million miles an hour. The boy jumped out of the way, dodging him by just a second. They dropped longhorns on the ground. Gym shorts picked him up and started dragging him to the bikes. Me and Sweat pants were trying to fight them off. It was really hard though because they throw punches like a brick. Suddenly we heard Gym shorts yell out, “I think he’s regaining conches ness.” Me and Sweat pants pushed them away and ran to the bikes. We jumped on and peddled off. They tried to throw rocks at us but we were able to dodge them. When we got back into the neighborhood we immediately went into Gym shorts garage. Gym shorts went to the fridge and got longhorns a bottle of gatorade. “What happened out there buddy?” I asked. Longhorns took a sip of the gatorade. “Those guys.” He said. “They tried to get money out of me. I told them I didn’t have any but they wouldn’t listen and I don’t think they

ever will.” “I know.” I tried to tell him reassuringly. “I know.” Suddenly our friend Lila came up. Lila was an eighth grade girl who lived across the street from me and Gym shorts. None of the gang exactly bothered to hang out with Lila or anything except during barbecues in her back yard when we were swimming. Except for me. Probably being the most mature one in the group I had had no problem hanging out with Lila she was always nice and funny. So we really had no problems hanging out. But today she didn’t exactly seem in the happiest mood. “Who did it.” She asked angrily. “What do you mean?” Asked Sweat pants a little confused. “You’re kidding right?” she answered. We were all still confused. “What are you talking about?” We were all asking starting to get really impatient with her. “Fine.” She said. “I’ll show you.” She lead us across the street into her backyard and over to the pool. There instead of a nice purified chlorine pool was one giant tub of red juice. We were all stunned at the sight. Who could’ve done such a thing like this? “Well?” she said. “Who wants to confess?” “None of us did this.” I told her. “But I think I might know who.

Chapter 3 “Do you really think that’s what happened?” Lila asked Longhorns. “I’m positive.” He answered. “It’s obvious that when you and your family were asleep some of those kids came and cut the security alarm wires, hopped over your fence, and poured about five coolers of that red juice into your pool.” “We still don’t know that’s exactly what happened.” Said Lila. “Fine.” Answered Longhorns. “let’s take a look in your garage. She opened the panel. All the wires were cut. “Told you.” Longhorns bragged. Gym shorts was just standing there clearly in a deep train of thought. “You okay there buddy?” I asked him a little worried. He stopped dozing. “Uh ya I’m fine. Just thinking.” He answered. Later that day the police showed up at Lila’s house to look for any clues. To me it was a little over the line to call the police over something like this. After all it was juice not poison. The guys and I were in Gym short’s garage when they left. We were watching them go over to their car and then one of them pointed at us. They started whispering and pointing we were all kind of getting curious. Suddenly Sweat pants yelled out, “Is there a problem here officer?” I punched his shoulder to shut him up. They walked over to us. “Excuse me?” one of them asked. “Do you know anything or anyone that might have something to do with this?” “The forest there’s a whole group of thugs who like to come over here and cause trouble.” Said Gym shorts. “Ya listen, it’s not good to play pranks like this. It’s very dangerous and hard to get out of your pool.” “Excuse me!” I interrupted. “You think that we did this?” “Listen it’s okay. You won’t get in trouble we just want you to stop this commotion so we can all go home.” Gym shorts stood up. “Get out of my garage!” he yelled. “Don’t disrespect a police officer.” One of them yelled back. “Don’t accuse me of one property damage.” Gym shorts yelled back.

They kept yelling back and forth. The rest of us were backing up against the wall. Even the police officers partner was getting a little scared. Finally they stopped yelling and they stormed out. But before they left the one who was yelling at Gym shorts yelled, “I will not stop until I prove that you were the children who filled that pool.” “Just try.” Gym shorts yelled. “You won’t find anything!” The police slammed the door and drove off. Gym shorts was still obviously furious. “The nerve of those guys.” He said. “Blaming us for something we clearly didn’t do. “It’s ok.” I told him. “They can’t prove it’s us because it was wasn’t us.” “I know but I’m still mad.” He replied. For the next few minutes he just sat there and thought. Then out of nowhere he jumped and screamed I got it!”

Chapter 4 We all thought it was crazy. In no way possible could we pull it off. “I’m telling you we can do it!” Gym shorts said confidently. “If you really think we can cross the forest, get to the find the people who did this, then get back at them your crazy.” I shouted. “I’m telling you.” He started up again. “If they can come into our territory we should probably be able to go in theirs.” “Yes.” I said. “But their territory is like a jail where all the prisoners roam free!” “Fine.” He said but if you don’t see me tomorrow you’ll know where I’ll be.” “I don’t count on it.” Said Longhorns. The next day I was having lunch when someone called me on my phone. It was Gym shorts. “Sandals?” He whispered. “Hey.” I said. “Where have you been all day? The guys and I have been looking for you.” “Ya.” He said. “I found the guys who filled the pool.” “Great what did you do to them?” “Actually it’s what they’re about to do to me.” After that I heard a couple of yells and drags and then the phone hung up. “Uh oh.” I ran as fast as I could to Longhorns house luckily sweat pants was with him. They opened the door. “Guys.” I said. “We’ve got trouble.

Chapter 5 While Longhorns was packing a back pack of anything we might need in case were in trouble his little brother Johnny came in. “what are you doing?” He asked. “None of your business.” Answered Longhorns. “Now get out of my room!” Longhorns was always hard on Johnny. He didn’t really like him hanging out with us or anything like that. It wasn’t exactly right but I didn’t mind today we had to focus on saving Gym shorts. “Listen.” I told Johnny. “If we don’t get out of here now we might never save Gym shorts.” “What’s wrong.” He asked. I couldn’t tell him that Gym short’s life was in danger, he’d go crazy. “He got caught in a hole down at the park.” I told him hoping he would by it. “Can I come?” he asked. “No.” said Longhorns. “You’re not allowed.” And before he could protest we ran out. As we were walking down to the forest we found trouble. We saw some of the kids coming out of the forest. “Look.” I whispered. “Get down!” “Why?” Asked Sweat pants. “It’s not like they know what we’re doing.” “Yes, but they will if they see us walk in the forest they’ll think were

up to something and hunt us down.” I answered. “Good point.” Said Longhorns. “We better wait until they’re out of sight to go in.” so we waited for about five minutes and then watched them go into our recreation center and made a break for it. When we got in the forest it was like a maze of trees. We didn’t know which way to go. But thankfully Longhorns spotted a nature trail and we followed that. It took us about thirty minutes to follow it. It was annoying because when you thought it was over it just kept going. But the most annoying part was there turned out to be a river in the center. So when we got to the other side we were wet. “I can’t believe it took us this long to get here.” Complained Sweat pants. “Hey.” I protested. “At least we made it. Now let’s get out of here. I’m sick of scraping dirt chunks off my sandals.” “Good Idea.” Said Longhorns. So we climbed the steep hill not only to not find what we were prepared for but much, much worse. The whole place was dark and gloomy. People were fighting. We even saw two kids running from the police. “Wow.” Is all that Longhorns could say. We started walking around trying to look for Gym shorts. Every time we turned a corner there was another group of teenagers staring with a face that said, “I wonder how much money they got?” Finally one of them approached us. “Hey kid.” He said. “You aren’t from around here. What exactly are you doing?” “None of your business.” I said trying to sound tougher than I really was. “I said what are you doing?”He asked again looking like he was about punch me. “And I said none of your business.” I told him not ready to give up yet. He stared at me for a minute. Then strangely he started laughing. “Your alright kid.” He said. “What’s your name?” I thought I might as well tell him since I knew I wasn’t in danger. “I’m Randy.” I answered. “But they call me Sandals.” “Sandals.” He said a little curiously. “Cool. What about those two?” He asked and pointed at Sweat pants and Longhorns. “That’s Sweat pants and Longhorns.” I answered. “Weird names.” He said. “But I like you three. Come hang out with us and I’ll show you around. We figured it was the fastest and easiest way to find Gym shorts so we decided to go along with him. He started showing us around. “This is the alley.” He said Showing us into a smelly old path about the size of a street. “What’s the big deal about it?” Asked Sweat pants. “It’s just an alley.” “Yes.” He answered. “But look behind the corner.” We turned around. Down one straight row there were about one hundred boxes with items on display. “What is this place.” Asked Longhorns completely fascinated in all things that were shown in front of him. “This is our street market.” He answered. “It’s where kids who are having a hard time in life economically of course come down here and sell some old junk they don’t use anymore.” I was completely fascinated. I even bought a hacky sack. “What else you got.” We asked. He lead us out of the alley and down to some cul-de-sac. “This is the fighting pen.” He told us. “This is where we watch kids who just have tons of anger built up inside of them take it out on each other. And sometimes when you find a kid messing with you and your gang you can try to tie them up and take them down there and treat them like a test dummy like spill dog poop on their head or hang them from their feet or something like that. I’ve done it both ways you want to try?” “No thanks.” I answered trying to be polite.

“We’ll just watch.” “Cool.” He said, and we sat down. Apparently they were about to do that test dummy thing and they threw the kid out on the court. I felt bad for the poor sap but at least it wasn’t me. Then Sweat pants nudged me. “Is that who I think it is?”

Chapter 6 Sure enough Sweat pants was right. That poor kid about to get pulverized out there was just the person we came here for. And I’m pretty sure that he saw us because you could hear him yelling out, “Guys help me quick!” We were trying to find a way to get him out of there before he got tortured. “Okay I got.” Said Longhorns. “When we get out there Sandals and I will pick up Gym shorts. Sweat pants you’re the strongest one here so you distract the guy.” “Gotcha” Sweat pants answered. “I’m sure I can take him.” Suddenly we heard loud stomps. They got closer and closer then suddenly. A kid who more looked like a beast walked in the arena. “Are you sure you can take that guy?” I asked starting to get a little worried. “Uhhh ya.” He answered starting to look scared. The boy was given duck tape, a rope, a bucket of feathers, and what looked like to me a bucket of dog poop. “Okay ready?” Asked longhorns. “Ready.” We answered. We all hopped down in the arena. “Hey!” yelled the giant kid. “Get out of the way!” “We need him.” I answered. “No!” he yelled back. “Get out of my way!” “Sweat pants get him!” “Gotcha.” He said. While Sweat pants was trying to defeat the fat kid me and long horns ran over to pick up Gym shorts. “You grab his feet.” I ordered Longhorns. “Ok.” he replied. I ripped the tape off of Gym shorts mouth. “Are you okay?” I asked him. “Just get me out of here!” he yelled. We picked up and looked back over at Sweat pants. It looked like the guy was clobbering him. “Help me!” he screamed. We went over and pushed the guy down. “Run.” I yelled. “Get them.” Said the fat kid as we started running. About fifteen kids started chasing us. I pointed to the alley. “Quick in here.” I ordered them we ran as fast as we could through the alley. We had to dodge people, make sure we didn’t knock any of the stands over. And it was ten times harder for me and Longhorns since we had to carry Gym shorts. I looked over my shoulder and they were still chasing us. And they were getting close too. Suddenly I spotted a stand selling a wagon. “You guys go.” I yelled. “Me and Gym shorts will catch up. “But?” “Just Go!” I ordered. They started running. I eventually lost sight of them and dragged Gym shorts over to the stand selling the wagon. “How much does the wagon cost?” I asked. “Twelve dollars.” he replied. I Looked in my wallet and gave him twenty dollars. I looked back again. They were getting extremely close now. I picked Gym shorts up and plopped him in the wagon. “Hey, you forgot your change!” said the guy as I started pulling Gym shorts away. “Keep it.” I yelled. I was pulling Gym shorts as fast as I could. The guys were so close now that if one of them stuck there hand out we’d be done for. “You’re going to get it.” One yelled. Another one said, “Wait

until I’m done with you.” I was now running as fast as I could taking every breath I had and using it to keep me from collapsing. We were finally out of the alley and back on the sidewalk. I remembered we had one more turn and then we would be back in the forest. I felt something hit the back of my head. I looked back. Oh great, now they were throwing acorns at us. I turned the corner. Finally the forest! I made one last dash. I couldn’t look back or I’d be dead. I gave the wagon a firm push and hopped in it. “What are you doing?” asked Gym shorts. “Just wait.” I answered. Finally we had passed the trees and were rolling down the hill. “Aaaaaahhhhhh!” We screamed riding over rock and stumps. We got closer and closer to the river and then splash. I was face down in while water was flowing passed me. It took me a minute to sit back up. “Are you ok?” I asked Gym short. “I’ve been better.” He answered with a low moan. Now I was able to stand but guess who grabbed me when I got up. “Remember me?” Asked the boy we met earlier. I tried to struggle but he was to strong. They had Gym shorts too. Now I knew we were dead.

Chapter 7 Gym shorts and I were about ready to dig our own grave then suddenly we heard rustling in the bushes. “Did you hear that?” One of them asked. “Go check it out.” Said the guy holding me. Two guys were going up the other side of the river then out of nowhere Longhorns and Sweat pants jumped out of the bushes and ended up taking the two guys down. “Thank god.” I thought in my head. They were punching left and right trying all they could to get us out of here. The guy holding me was so distracted I was able to break free and punch him right in the gut. Apparently the same thing worked out for Gym shorts. “Come on.” I ordered. “We have to get out of here. We all pushed them away and started running up the hill. We didn’t even bother to take the nature walk we just ran straight through the woods. “Come on.” Yelled Sweat pants. “Faster!” We were all sprinting now not being able to stop for anything. Avoiding trees, jumping over snake holes. I thought it would take forever then suddenly I saw a light. It was the outside! “Look!” I yelled. We ran. Then with one more sprint we were finally out of the forest. “wheiw.” Said Longhorns now let’s go home. Then suddenly the twelve guys jumped out and yelled, “You’re going to get it!” Longhorns let out a small, “Uh oh.” And stared running. We followed him. “We don’t have any here else to go.” Said Gym shorts. The neighborhood is all the way across the park we won’t make it. Suddenly an idea hit me. “Follow me.” I ordered. We all ran on the sidewalk they were about to get us then we were next to our local recreation center. We ran in. “Why are we in here?” asked Sweat pants. “Just go to the gym.” I answered. The reason we were in there was because I remembered that every Tuesday our police would play a pickup game of basket ball against the fire men. I never knew why they just did. When we got in it was half time. I ran over to the police. “Help us.” I whimpered. “What seems to be the problem son?” He asked. Suddenly the twelve guys entered. “Them.” I said. “They captured my friend and they almost killed us.” “That’s a

lie.” One of them protested. “You be quiet.” I ordered. “It’s true.” Said Gym shorts they tied me up and threatened to hurt me. “Listen, listen.” Said the police officer. “You need proof for something like this. If you don’t I’m sorry but they can’t held accounted for.” “I have proof.” Longhorns surprisingly blurted out. “What?” I asked. “When me and Sweat pants were hiding in the bushes I thought something like this might come up so I took a picture on my phone of you and Gym shorts about to get punched before we jumped out.” He answered. “May I see this picture?” The officer asked. “My pleasure.” He replied. Longhorns took out his phone and showed the picture to the police officer. When the man saw it he looked in disbelief. “Please come with us.” He ordered them. They were about to make a run for it but apparently a man moping the gym floor over heard us talking and locked the door. “You heard him. Let’s go.” One of them said. As they were being hand cuffed one by one I was watching in disbelief. I couldn’t believe they had given up just like that. We had one. We had actually won. They were walking up and I went over to an officer. “Excuse me. How long will they be in jail?” I asked. “About two or three weeks.” He answered, Then left. “Now what?” Asked Sweat pants. “We go celebrate with hot dogs and all the Grape soda we can drink at my garage.” Answered Gym shorts. “Sounds good to me.” I answered. And we all went home knowing that we were safe.

Chapter 8 That night all of our friends from the neighborhood came down to hear about how we escaped from those thugs and got them arrested at the same time. They were all extremely interested in what we had to say. “Was it scary when you were about to get clobbered by that kid?” Our friend Jim asked Gym shorts. “Yes but we showed him who’s boss.” Gym shorts answered really cocky like. “What did they do when the police took them in?” asked Gym shorts older sister. “They just gave us mean faces and left.” Answered Longhorns. “Are you guys scared when they get out they might come after you?” Lila asked. “I would be.” An unfamiliar voice muttered. I looked over in the driveway. There were four boys coming up with angry looking faces like they were about to blow up. “Who are you?” Asked Sweat pants. “Not important.” He answered. “But what is important that is in three weeks and four days you better be prepared for heck because that’s what’s coming to you.” “What are you even talking about?” I asked. “Those guys, the ones you put in prison they’re taking you down, they’ll never stop until they do.” He answered. I looked back at the guys they had a pretty scared look on their face and so did I. “How do you know all this.” Asked Gym shorts. “One of them used there one phone call on me to pass the news.” He answered. “I would prepare.” Then he dropped the skateboard he was carrying and left. Everyone was no longer having fun or talking there was just silence and nothing more of it. “Can you guys give us a minute?” I asked. They got up and left. “You know what we have to right?” I asked them. “Run away.” Said Longhorns scared like. “Move into one of our houses and never come out.” Suggested Gym shorts. “No!” I blurted out. “We prepare.” “Prepare for what?” Asked Sweat pants. “Prepare for the war.” I answered confidently. “Are you crazy?”

Asked Gym shorts. “It’s over. They’ve won. And no matter how many times we come out on top they’ll just find away to get back above us. Face it Sandals it’s over. They started to leave. “Wait.” I yelled. “But it’s not over, We can do this. Sweat pants look at you you’re the strongest one here, Longhorns you’re a genius. You know everything. Gym shorts you can build anything you set your mind too. We’ve all got the pieces to the puzzle we just have to put them together. “You’re missing one piece.” Said Sweat pants. “A leader.” “Yes we do.” Blurted Longhorns. “Sandals.” “He came over to me I’m in. Gym shorts and Sweat pants hesitated for a moment then walked over. “We’re in too.” They said. “Great.” I said. “Training begins tomorrow.

Chapter 9 The next day we had all decided to come out at ten o-clock. I was filled with confidence and ready to start. I put on my shoes and walked over to Gym shorts garage. Gym shorts and Longhorns were talking. “Where’s Sweat pants.” I asked. “He’ll be out in a minute.” Answered Longhorns. “What should we do today?” “I don’t know.” I answered. “What do you think Gym shorts.” “Learn how to fight I guess.” He answered. “Ya like we know someone who can teach us how to fight.” Sweat pants said surprisingly as he came in. Then Gym shorts gave me a sly look. I knew what he was thinking and I didn’t like it one bit. “No.” I said refusing to it happen. “Come on.” Said Gym shorts. “He may be a pain in the neck but he smart when it comes to this stuff. “No. You don’t like him, I don’t like him, none of us like him.” “But but Brandon can help us.” He said again. Brandon was Gym shorts older cousin who was living with them for the summer until college started. He was always a pain in the neck. He was always drinking all our Gatorade in the garage. And last winter he came to visit while we were having a snowball fight in Gym shorts backyard, and he took things to the next level and bruised us for a week. I guess at the time he forgot that the number one pitcher on his baseball team was facing four eleven year old boys. The only time I really did like him was when we were all playing baseball in the neighborhood. We always thought he was annoying but the next thing I knew we were in Gym shorts backyard learning from him how to fight. “The first rule of learning how to fight is wait until your opponent attacks you to punch him.” He yelled loudly like we were at boot camp. “Here’s an example, Randy attack me and looked at me. I knew I had to so I ran at him. I was about to punch him but he grabbed me and pushed me down. I felt dizzy. “Ow. That hurt.” I complained. He didn’t bother to help me up but just started talking again. “Now notice when he raised his fist I immediately took action. Now I will pair you up and watch you use this technique. Randy you’re with Alan. David you’re with Michael. Now get to your sides of the yard. We walked over and got into position “Ready… fight!” Sweat pants threw a punch at me. I blocked him. I raised my foot and kick him. It hit his leg and he fell to the floor. “Winner.” Yelled Brandon. I helped Sweat pants up and we walked over to Gym shorts and Longhorns. They were throwing punches pretty pathetically. It was like watching a cat fall out of a tree and not even

have a scratch. But in the end Gym shorts won because apparently Longhorns was too tired, no (No surprise.) “Winner.” Brandon yelled again. “Now that Randy and Michael have won they will face each other. Gym shorts and I went and got into positions. “Ready.” He yelled. “Begin.” Gym shorts tried to punch me I darted out of the way. I quickly punched him in the stomach. Suddenly he got an angry look on his face. He lifted his leg up and tried to kick me. I grabbed his leg and pushed it away. He suddenly fell down. “Winner.” Yelled Brandon. For the rest of the day things were pretty much like that. Brandon would teach us a move and we would do what he called a sparring session. Then at seven o-clock when it was finally over he just went inside and started to take a nap on the living room couch. No good job or nice work just a, “Michael come in for dinner in thirty minutes.” We all went into the garage and had a bottle of Gatorade. “This is why we don’t use Brandon.” I said looking at the bruise he gave me this morning. “Point taken.” Said Gym shorts looking like he was about to drop dead. “I’m going inside.”

Chapter 10 I was hoping today wouldn’t be like yesterday. I couldn’t take that much work. I walked outside. Gym shorts was drawing a picture of something. “What are you drawing there?” I asked him. “Plans.” He replied. “What do you mean by plans?” I asked again. “Just look here.” He said clearly disturbed that I was interrupting his train of thought. I walked over and looked at the paper. He was drawing a vehicle of some sort. I hadn’t ever seen anything like before. “What is that?” I asked a little strange considering Gym shorts doesn’t always think this big when he’s making something. “That is what’s going to get us out of the battle. He answered. “Don’t we just ride our bikes?” “We can but bikes don’t come with sling shots.” “Well can you explain it to me?” I asked. “It’s kind of weird looking. “Well if you look here there is one wood plank held up by two wheels in the back. The front is attached to two bikes which will pull the plank forward.” He said. “What about those two things on the bottom corners?” I asked. “What are those?” “Those are sling shots.” He answered those will keep them from catching us.” “Well what do we throw at them?” “That depends on what they have.” He answered. After Longhorns and Sweat pants came we started building. “First of all were going to need a giant wooden plank that two people can stand on.” Gym shorts told us. “I’ve got a few pieces of long wood in my back yard.” I said. “We can use those.” “Great go get them.” I went into my back yard and picked a few pieces up. When I came back Gym shorts was instructing Longhorns to go take off the wheels from his old scooter and bring them back here, and telling Sweat pant to go get all the empty water balloons he can find. We all spread out. As Gym shorts was helping me bring the last piece of long wood back Longhorns was coming back with the wheels form his scooter. “I got them.” He said. “Great now help us cut this wood to make it even.” I replied. We all sat down and grabbed a saw. “Is your dad ok with this?” I

asked knowing Gym shorts dad never lets us use his tools for anything. “Of course.” He answered. “As long as we don’t tell him about it.” We spent countless hours hammering nail down, screwing bolts on, and testing the strength of everything but in the end we had a finely pieced vehicle that can help us in any situation we came across. “We did good.” I said. “Who wants to take it for a test run?”

Chapter 11 Even though it was getting late none of us could bear to wait to ride the vehicle. “Sweat pants and I will drive it, and you and Longhorns can use the sling shots. “Great plan.” I said and we all hopped on. Clearly it was a little hard for Sweat pants and Gym shorts to pedal since they had all that weight to pull but after awhile they were starting to get faster. Longhorns and I loaded the sling shots with water balloons we had filled up earlier and were looking for something to hit. Suddenly we turned back on our street and had found just what we had been looking for, Jacob Howard, one of the most spoiled, bratty, and annoying kids I will ever meet in my life. But the sad thing was he only lived two houses down from me. Anyway he was just standing there playing with his friends when suddenly like always he spots us and jumps out in front of the street and starts calling stupid and stuff like that. Now I feel a little embarrassed making such a big deal over a little who’s actually only eight but he’s just like a rash that won’t go away. So when he went back on the sidewalk and started making faces at us I did what anyone would do, I put a water balloon in my sling shot aimed it at Jacob, and then that’s right, I let that sucker go smashing Jacob right in the face. I know it seems cruel but I couldn’t help but start laughing. Everyone of us did. It was the medicine to shut him up that we had been waiting for, for a long time. Then trying to look tough Jacob got back up to his feet and started yelling, “That didn’t hurt you stupid heads!” But before he could talk again he was hit right in the face again by Longhorns. “Nice shot.” I said cracking up. “You too.” He replied laughing hysterically also. Finally we stopped laughing and thought he had enough so we decided to go home. “When we got back Longhorns asked, “Do you think we’ll get in trouble for that?” “Big time.” I replied.

Chapter 12 Today I had to do something that would make me pee in my pants. Today was the day I had to go down to the police station to talk to the enemy. I don’t know how it came up but four days ago we thought it was somehow a good idea to negotiate with the enemy. Sadly I was the only one who could go because I was the leader of the group leader. But my goal was to try to talk to their leader about finding some way to get out of this whole mess. I hope it works.

I rode my bike outside and saw the guys sitting where the usually were. “I’m heading down to the station now.” I said. “Wish me luck.” “Don’t let them kill you.” Sweat pants said sarcastically as I started peddling away. About fifteen minutes later I was down at the police station scared of what might happen. I entered through the door and awkwardly watched a man get hauled in. I went up to the desk. I asked as politely as I could, “Where can I find Tim Vance?” A fat old lady who was reading a magazine looked up at me and gave me a look like I was wasting her time. “Friend or family?” she asked. “I’m a family friend.” I lied. “What is your name?” “Randy Arthur.” I answered. “Thank you. You will see Mr. Vance in a few minutes.” About five minutes later I was told to go in one of the visiting booths to go wait for this Tim guy. I was walking passed a few other booths and saw families talking to their sons. I kept walking and suddenly I saw him looking tougher than ever. It was Tim just sitting there looking calm and relaxed. I walked over to him and sat down. We just stared at each other for a minute. I started the conversation. “So how you been?” I asked trying to be nice. “I don’t know. You tell me.” He answered. “Look.” I said. “I know were kind of the reason you guys are in jail, but can’t you cut us some slack. There’s got to be some way to work this out.” “Nope.” He answered. “In fact were going to kill you.” And right when he said that I knew he was serious. “Don’t you think that’s a little drastic?” I pleaded. “Nope.” He answered. “You put us in jail, so why should we give you any mercy.” Then I heard a, “Visiting times up. Time for all visitors to go.” I stood up and left he just sat there and watched very pleased with what he had said. The whole time I biked home I kept thinking about what he had said. I can’t believe I’m going to have to tell my friends that they had to fight for their live if they want to survive. What am I going to do?

Chapter 13 When I got back all the guys were curious to hear what had happened. “Do we still have to fight?” asked Longhorns. “Yes.” I answered. “Well that’s not so bad.” Said Gym shorts. “We can take them. I looked at him scared of what would happen. “Well there’s actually a small chance they’ll try to kill us with their bear fists.” I told them. Sweat pants suddenly looked at me. “That’s not funny.” He said in a serious voice. “I’m not joking.” I replied. “I’m serious. When I went down to the police station and try to work things out the kid looked directly at me and said, “In fact were going to kill you,” in a serious voice.” They all looked scared like they were about to give up. Then I knew I had to convince them not to or else we would go from fighting to hiding. “But listen.” I said. “What have they done besides sitting in a concrete room all day and planning who they’re going to try and punch? We’ve actually been training and learning how to fight. Heck we’ve even built a full on vehicle to help us. The closest thing they’ve done to building anything is making lunch for the other inmates. So don’t give up yet. We can still win

this. We just have to train a little harder. Ok? They looked each other for a minute and thought. Finally Gym shorts blurted, “I’m not going down without a fight! I’m in!” “Me neither” said Longhorns and Sweat pants. “Great.” I said. “Now let’s do this.”

Chapter 14 The following week we had pushed ourselves to the limit to beat those kids. We woke up every morning and jogged around the park, then in the afternoon we would lift some of my dad’s old weight’s, and in the evening Brandon would teach us new moves in the backyard. We were more prepared than ever. There was nothing that could stand in our way. Except the day they got out. We were all lifting weights in my garage when Longhorns mom came up to him with a worried look on her face. “Have you seen Johnny?” she asked with a worried look on her face. “I haven’t seen him since lunch and I’m worried something happened to him.” “Have you checked Jacob’s house?” Longhorns asked. “I called his dad and he said he left over an hour ago. I’m calling the police. It looks like it’s about to rain and I don’t want him to get poured on?” she answered, and quickly ran back to their house. “I wonder what happen to him.” Said Sweat pants. Suddenly my phone rang. I picked it up. “Hello?” I asked. “I guess you’ve heard by now.” A voice muffled. “Heard what? Who is this?” I asked again. This time a little disturbed. All that it replied was. “We’ve got him, and were down in the forest. You better hurry before it’s too late.” Then I heard a loud, “Help me!” and then he hung up. I looked at the guys. “I know where Johnny is.”

Chapter 15 We were packing our things as fast as we could, Trying to get down to the forest and save Johnny. “Sweat pants, Gym shorts, you go get the vehicle out of my garage and pull it around. Longhorns and I will load the water balloons in the bucket.” I ordered. We quickly split up. While trying to load the water balloons in the bucket I couldn’t help but ask Longhorns, “Are you worried about him?” He looked up at me. “Should I be?” I knew I couldn’t lie so I just answered, “Maybe.” He got a worried look on his face but we didn’t have to think because we heard a loud. “Hurry up.” We looked out of the garage and they were waiting for us. We ran out carrying the buckets of water balloons. The guys were pedaling as fast as they could while Longhorns and I were looking out for any of the kids. “What do you think they’re doing to him?” asked Sweat pants. “Probably nothing yet.” I answered. But if we don’t hurry they could. Longhorns started to look like he was thinking about his parents yelling at him. “Hurry up.” He ordered. They knew what why he was getting so worked up so they didn’t talk back.

About five minutes later we were at the edge of the forest hoping that we would make it in time. Came up to the path of the nature walk and suddenly realized something. The vehicle was too big to fit through the path! “This ruins everything.” Blurted Gym shorts. “Now how are we going to get through?” “I guess we’ll just have to walk through.” I said. They looked at me and shrugged. Then we all walked down.

Chapter 16 We were all running down following the nature trail only thinking about Johnny. Suddenly I heard rustling in the bushes it kept getting louder and louder. “Stop!” I shouted. “Everybody be quiet.” We all stopped in complete silence. The rustling stopped and then quickly sl tarted again. “Uh oh.” Sweat pants looked at me. “What do you mean uh oh.” He asked. “Run.” I shouted. “They’re following us.” I started running as fast as I could. They were following behind. “How do you know?” asked Longhorns as he panted. “If you listen you can hear them.” I answered. We kept running and running, but the rustling still followed. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and skidded to a halt. They saw me and stopped too. “Come out.” I yelled. “I know you’re here. Suddenly a boy the age of fourteen came out from behind a tree. I turned around to look at him but he had already knocked me down. The guys ran over and crouched beside me. “Are you ok?” Asked Gym shorts. I looked back up at him. “Ya, I’m fine. Help me up.” He took out his hand and I jumped back up. “When I looked at him he was looked strong and muscular. He ran forward quickly. Before I had time to react I was down again. I was kind of getting tired of this. “Gym shorts help me up again.” He reached out his arm. “Are you sure you can handle this?” He asked. “Just help me.” I jumped back up. The boy looked at me again, red faced and angry. He was now sprinting at me. I stood still. “Doing something!” Screamed Sweat pants. I quickly jumped out of the way watching him run passed me and bump his head into a tree knocking himself un conches. “Quick.” I ordered. “He’ll be up in a minute.”

Chapter 17 We kept running for another five minutes when we suddenly found them. There was a thirty men army of thugs waiting for us down by the river. We crouched behind a bush. “How are we going to fight these guys off and save Johnny?” Sweat pants asked angrily. “Look at them not only are we outnumbered by four hundred, but they also have the ability to crush our heads with they’re muscles.” “Well how was I supposed to know this was going to happen. It’s not like we had agreed with them to take an eight year old kid before we had the fight.” I argued back. “Don’t worry we can do this. We just have to find a way to get Johnny out of there without

being noticed.” “Who’s trying to not get noticed?” asked Gym shorts excitedly. “I’m ready to kick some butt.” Then he quickly jumped out of the bushes screaming, “Who’s ready to fight?” Everyone looked back at him. The rest of us stood up. We all just stared at each other, not making any physical movement. Suddenly a boy moved his way to the front of the crowd. It was their leader, Tim. I thought back to our conversation at the police station. We stared I stared at him for a second. Finally I broke the silence only saying, “Ready?” He smiled at me for a second. Then he yelled at the top of his lungs, “Attack.” Then a mob of angry teenagers suddenly started running at me as fast as they could. “Get ready.” I ordered. We all got into fighting position. “Wait for it.” Then suddenly bam, the next thing I knew I was in a thirty to four man battle throwing and dodging punches. I was being surrounded by a crowd trying to make my way out. I looked around for the guys. Gym shorts and Sweat pants were fighting while Longhorns was trying to get Johnny untied from the tree he attached to. I ran over to Gym shorts trying to help him fight off a kid who was two times his size. “Do you think he got out?” I asked throwing a punch at the kid. Gym shorts looked back. “I don’t see him.” He answered. “Longhorns must have untied him by now.” “Good.” I replied. “I don’t want him to see all this violence.” After about twenty more minutes of nonstop punching we all heard a loud, “Stop!” Everyone quieted down and looked up at a big hill. Standing there was Tim. “We all know this will go on all day unless we do something.” He shouted. “I think the two leaders of each group should go one on one to settle this. The loser is never allowed to step on the other group’s side of the forest ever again. Agreed?” He looked at me. I looked at the other guy’s faces and they were obviously giving me a sign that said don’t do it. But I knew I had to. “Agreed.” I answered.

Chapter 18 Everyone had cleared out of the way to make room for me and Tim to fight. His friends on one side mine on the other. I was kind of tired because I was facing thirty guys with almost no help. But I knew I couldn’t chicken out now. It was too late to do that. We were getting into fighting positions. A kid in the middle looked at both of us and yelled, “Ready…. Fight.” And quickly got out of the way. We motioned around slowly, waiting for each other to attack. Finally after a minute I lunged out to kick him in the stomach. As soon as my foot hit him he let out a big, “Ow.” Like he had just had the wind knocked out of him. I backed up. He had an angry look on his face like he was to have two tons of steam come out of his ears. Suddenly he ran up to me and picked me up. Before I knew it I was on the ground with a bruise on my cheek. “Get up.” He ordered angrily. I looked up at him. “Come and get me.” I said panting with a weak voice. He suddenly started charging at me like he was about to kick me in the head. I reacted by rolling over while he passed me. I suddenly got up. He was confused what had

happened. I ran over and jumped on his back, knocking him down. We started rolling over, not letting go of one another. Now I had the hold of him, throwing all the punches I could yelling, “Give up. Give up.” Finally he was so tired he said, “Ok you win.” I stopped punching. I stared at him for a moment, then stood up. “Never come back.” I said. Then left him there and walked away.

Epilogue After that day everything went back to normal the guys and I spent our summer days like any other. No fighting, no training, nothing really. I was just glad to be able to have good time again without worrying about anything. I said we got lucky. The guys said it was because we had a leader like me.

Nevins AWESOMER story  

Taking back what’s yours By Nevin Odum One time my friend David and I were riding bikes in the park, and then some of them jumped out from b...

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